By Eve Jeffery
Originally from Istanbul, Turkey, Utku Ayhan moved to Melbourne 18 years ago.
‘I had been in the corporate world, which almost crushed my spirit. Deciding to open my own restaurant saved me from a deep depression’, he says.
In 2012 Utku opened the Sefa Kitchen in Bondi which has become a local institution there. These days he supervises Sefa Kitchen from Byron and visits monthly.
Utku set up Foxy Luu’s with nutritionist and chef, Leilani. ‘She helped a lot with fine tuning the concept and putting together our unique menu, which I believe provides an artful balance of health, flavour and value.’
Utku says Foxy Luu’s has gradually become a hub for local regulars. ‘I love seeing familiar faces, and the casual vibe – when there is not a long line at the counter stretching to the bottlo. It’s where I can build friendships and get to know and feed glowing souls. It is a small shop, so we all cook and serve. I like the vibrancy of my job. Also, I love creating inviting spaces.’
Utku says he feels lucky to be in Byron. ‘The tribe is an appreciative and supportive one,’ he says. ‘When they sense a genuine effort they notice it and nurture it with their energy. I think we address the four key elements in our own way quite well. Great value food, friendly and professional service, inviting atmosphere, and the X factor, haha! We put in a lot of effort to align our values with the locale – bringing our focus to community, taking care of the planet in many ways, kindness and wellbeing.’
Until the end of August, Foxy Luu’s is collaborating with Monsieur Diop. (See last week’s Backlash.)
Originally from France, Monsieur Diop is a DJ, event producer and broadcaster, and whether it’s music or visual art, his approach is the same. ‘It is the absence of control, and the hazardous skill of dealing with whatever life brings to you that creates poetry,’ says Monsieur Diop, a true believer in the law of Order and Chaos, Trial and Error, ‘… mixing pictures and collaging music; it is all about collecting bits and pieces to create juxtaposition, contrasts and stories.’
The exhibition runs until the end of August at Foxy Luu’s – a true immersive multi-cultural experience.
Foxy Luu’s are also starting bowl’O’soup, Thursdays, from the beginning of August. Every Thursday after 3pm, they will serve a variety of their famous bone broth and vegan soups for $10 to warm and nourish souls and tummies.
For more information, you can find Foxy Luu’s at Shop 4a North Byron Plaza, 90 Jonson Street, Byron Bay, and on Facebook: facebook.com/FoxyLuus.